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After 20 years of service, Penrith Paceway CEO Lorraine Pozza has announced her resignation. Spanning 40 years of experience in the harness racing industry, Ms Pozza has gone on to be a fundamental part of the Paceway’s operations. But now, with big changes and a facility relocation on the horizon, she said it’s time for a fresh start for the club. “We see big changes ahead with the ever growing population and the New West with an airport not far away,” Ms Pozza told the Weekender. “This, being exciting times for Penrith, has also motivated us to change and change we will. It has been three years getting to this point, I must say it has had its ups and downs but now they are on their way to a renewed era.” Reflecting on the many years she has spent at the Paceway, Ms Pozza paid credit to the mentoring she received from long-standing President Max Laughton, who passed away last year. “Harness racing is a sport I dearly loved when I started some 40 years ago when I worked at Harold Park which was then the head office of harness racing,” she said. “I moved on to the Harness Racing Authority when it became the head office and the rest is history. “When I first started 20 years ago as the CEO of the Paceway, Max had the foresight to build a registered club to rejuvenate harness racing in Penrith and that it did.” The Paceway is now in the throes of development, with the club to be relocated within the next three to five years. Town Planning has commenced with investigations underway to find a new site. Tash Greentree is taking over as CEO of the Paceway. Photo: Melinda Jane “The new Paceway will be a destination point for people to visit and the harness racing industry to be proud of,” Ms Pozza said. “The future now looks bright for the Paceway, it is time for me to step out and hand it over to someone younger to take them forward into a new era.” Tash Greentree, who has worked at the Penrith Paceway for 19 years as Accounts Controller, has been appointed as the new CEO. Ms Pozza thanked the board, staff and sponsors for their ongoing support over the years. Reprinted with permission of The Western Weekender

BARRIER draws will force reinsman Robert Morris to utilise all the driving skills he has at Penrith tonight. Having sat behind more than 1200 winners in his career, Morris admits luck will play a big role in any results he does achieve however believes he has the horsepower to help him. “It’s going to be a difficult night and I’m going to have to think through each drive,” Morris said. The Menangle Park reinsman’s first drive is with Stormont Star in race two. Trained by Morris’ wife KerryAnn Morris, Stormont Star has drawn inside the second row. “Barrier seven doesn’t look great on paper but if the barrier one horse [Rockn Brushgrove] comes out well, we should end up in a good position,” Morris said. “He will run a good race either way on what his work has been like. “His form does look a bit patchy of late but his work at home has been great. “We’ve freshened him up and changed his work around.” In the following race, Morris will sit behind last start winner Prophesy. The mare will have to overcome barrier nine to make it back-to-back wins at that track. “We’ve certainly found our groove with her now and she is probably my best chance of the night,” Morris said. “Her last couple of runs have been super and even though she has some missed placings next to her name, they have still been good runs.” Morris’ final drive for his wife on the night is behind the pacer Squire in race five. The gelding has drawn outside the front row in barrier six. “Squire is a really nice horse but it is going to be tough where he is drawn,” Morris said. “Benicio has drawn underneath him so I will most likely have to go back at the start and hope they are running hard in front to bring me into the race. “He is good enough to be there at the end.” Morris will also be competing at Newcastle’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting tomorrow night before preparing for a number of drives at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The 27-year-old has been driving across the state in recent weeks as well as interstate and is looking forward to having a rest this Sunday. “I’ve been travelling all over the place and even somehow ended up in Queensland last week for the Australian Pacing Gold and this Sunday will be my first day off in while so I’m looking forward to sleeping in,” Morris said. The hard work has paid off, however, with Morris already steering 62 winners this season, extending his overall total to 1245.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

WITH an unbeaten record since racing in his care trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick could not be happier with the progress of Rollin With Holly. The three-year-old has had two starts with Fitzpatrick and the filly has pleasantly surprised him each run. “She’s improving quite a bit,” said Fitzpatrick. “She is not an overly flash track-worker so her two runs have surprised me. “She’s always been a nice type and we’re just really happy with how she is progressing.” Rollin With Holly will face the starter for the third time in Fitzpatrick’s care at Penrith tonight. This race is another stepping stone towards a big preparation connections have earmarked for the daughter of Roll With Joe. “She has a busy year ahead,” said Fitzpatrick. “She will race in next week’s Raith Memorial at Menangle and the New South Wales Oaks will be her main aim at this stage.” Rollin With Holly has had 13 starts for five wins and four placings. For her immediate task, Rollin With Holly has drawn barrier four in tonight’s TAB Rewards Pace (1720m) with Fitzpatrick in the sulky. “She should be hard to beat,” said Fitzpatrick. The Cawdor horseman has three other starters nominated tonight starting with Urban Girl in race three. Having also won her last two starts, Fitzpatrick believes tonight’s assignment has its challenges. “She’s an improver but drawn barrier 10 over the mile at Penrith is never easy,” said Fitzpatrick. In the following event, Fitzpatrick has last start winner Burning Rubber drawn barrier four over the 2125m. “He’s a very consistent horse and is in this race with a claim with Jason Grimson driving and looks a good chance again,” said Fitzpatrick. Another good draw has Fitzpatrick optimistic about his other runner’s chance – Clarry in race five. The pacer has drawn barrier three over the 1720m. “He’s going well again and has a strong chance from the draw,” said Fitzpatrick. Clarry won for Fitzpatrick two starts ago at Penrith. The victory added to the strong season Fitzpatrick has experienced so far. With 17 wins to his credit as a trainer and 13 wins as a driver for the term, Fitzpatrick is on track to experiencing stronger results than last season. Overall, Fitzpatrick is one of the most successful drivers in New South Wales having steered 1870 winners. As a trainer he boasts 614 victories to his credit.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

WITH the goal of driving 100 winners before he turns 18 reinsman Will Rixon could achieve that. The Sydney driver has driven 99 winners so far and will celebrate his milestone Birthday tomorrow. “It’s always been a long goal of mine to drive 100 winners before I turn 18 so we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” said Rixon. With five drives on the seven-race card at Penrith tonight, Rixon is hoping he can breakthrough to the centurion ranks in the opening race. Rixon has been assigned the drive on the James Rando-trained Southbound Train. “I’m pretty confident in Southbound train,” said Rixon. “He can do things wrong but goes well when he puts it all together and he has found a suitable race.” If Southbound Train is not the one to catapult Rixon to his century then the young driver believes his next best chance is De Santa Anna in race three. “De Santa Anna should run a good race,” said Rixon. “Fingers crossed.” And if Rixon’s win does not happen tonight, he has booked five drives at Bankstown tomorrow night. It will be a big week Rixon as he has also landed his first Group drive in Saturday night’s Inter City Pace Final at Maitland’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting. “It’s exciting that I got the call to drive Pocket Of Terror in the Final,” said Rixon. “I missed out on driving him a few weeks ago at Newcastle because I was stuck in traffic and I didn’t get to drive him in the Inter City Pace heat last week because I was suspended. “I watched his run and he looked impressive winning his heat.” Pocket Of Terror is the $4 TAB Fixed Odds second favourite in the feature with the Kevin Pizzuto-trained Persimon the $2.60 elect. “Drawing barrier one would have been better but barrier two is the next best,” said Rixon. “It’s good to draw inside the main dangers. “It’s a strong race with a few winning chances . . . Kevin Pizzuto’s horse was impressive in his heat, Ashark copped a lot of heat and didn’t have the race run to suit but still won his heat well, you have to respect Benalong Valley from barrier one and The Bus off the back line goes well too.” The 56th Inter City Pace Final is scheduled for 9:45pm this Saturday.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

TEAM Teal fundraising will start early with the Trotters Association of New South Wales donating funds from their Awards Night on October 12 to the cause. Taking place at the Penrith Paceway Members Lounge, the TANSW have also secured ‘Mr Team Teal’ himself, Duncan McPherson OAM, for their ‘On The Couch’ interview of the night. McPherson, a trotting enthusiast, founded the Team Teal campaign and TANSW Vice President Troy Williams is looking forward to having such a guest. “Duncan is so passionate about trotting,” Williams said. “Our Awards Night is teal themed and we will have raffles on the night with 50 per cent pf the profits going to Team Teal.” Some of the raffle prizes include a set of colours by Hyland Sportswear, Garrards vouchers and more. The night will also celebrate the trotting achievements in NSW from the 2017/18 season with the NSW Two-Year-Old of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year, Trotting Mare of the Year, Open Class Trotter of the Year as well as the Trotting Trainer and Trotting Driver of the Year. For more information about the TANSW Awards Night please contact Flora Robson on 0412121275 or Troy Williams on 0409264602. Tickets are $90 which includes beverages, dinner and entertainment.   Amanda Rando HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT

Having spent two weeks in New Zealand and Australia visiting various harness racing tracks, meeting top industry executives, owners, trainers, and fans, I thought I would try to paint a portrait of what I've seen and heard. There is no doubt that the standardbred industry in both New Zealand and Australia is suffering from many of the same dangers, problems, and downward trends that are besetting the North American industry. Foaling numbers are down (250 fewer mares bred this year in nz than last year), sale prices are down, Breeders are contemplating big cutbacks, the buying bench is shrinking and aged, horse shortages are beginning to effect race cards, purses are flat, expenses are increasing, industry visibility is diminishing, on track attendance is abysmal, and the show we are putting on is generally lethargic and boring! Some of the Downunder tracks seem to be on solid footing. Alexandra Park, in Auckland, projects doubling current minimum purses to levels approaching NZ$40.000 per average race within two years. This is to be accomplished via cash streaming in from apartment, hotel, and non racing revenues that are part of their vision for a new age, upscale living/entertainment complex built around racing, but offering much more than racing. The track's central city location has been used to create a racing centered complex that could be a blueprint for future projects everywhere, although conceptual transferability is somewhat limited to centrally located properties. Instead of offloading highly valuable property, Alexander Park's club directors had the vision and ability to use the location to create add on, added value assets which infuse cash to the racing product and broaden the entertainment offered indirectly thru the racing. It will work, and Alexandra Park has a bright short term future. It will, however, have to avoid the danger confronted by any non producing asset - the danger of extinction caused by a recognition that, perhaps, the core asset (racing) is so underproducing that the other assets may no longer need and want it. Let's hope the directors find a way to prevent that eventuality! Tabcorp Menangle, Sydney's major track, is located in a growing hub and has plans for a similar complex. Fueled by their sale of Harold Park for huge money, it would appear that their future should be a bright one. I was at a lovely track last night, Penrith, outside of Sydney. It's a charming, half mile track, somewhat reminiscent of Saratoga Raceway, with unusually large on track attendance and on track energy in this day of concrete racing. Their directors are active, on site, welcoming, and enthusiastic about their product and venue. It's a wonderful place to enjoy for the one night a week that it races. Also in a city hub, one has to hope that the huge land value won't lead to sale and relocation that would almost certainly diminish the experience! Alexandra Park appears to make more money from a dollar spent on food and beverages than they get from a dollar wagered. This has led them to focus on offering a great on track experience, and in attracting a crowd that is there to enjoy themselves, NOT to gamble! The gamblers are primarily off track, this is an interesting model that may have relevance everywhere. Perhaps the industry can bring back attendance by offering a fun, family experience, by creating on site, separate options attractive to young people, to the older crowd, to well dressed and casual customers to whom the racing is incidental and a draw because of its uniqueness. Meanwhile, the industry can optimize off track gambling and distribution, its video presentation of its product, and create non intrusive, invisible on site ways to wager that won't lessen on track attractiveness for non gamblers. I understand that NZ is renegotiating it's video contract with Sky, hoping to enhance its' ability to customize video programming, which would be wonderful! Betting options Downunder are different from North American counterparts, and each should learn from the other. Of course, control of racetracks, the racing signal, and wagering follow completely different models in the two hemispheres... Downunder, the handicapping schemes are flawed and attempts are underway to improve their efficacy, but authorities need to better understand the handicapping systems in place around the world. They need to be able to create more even fields and to get away from point based systems that allow too much discretion, favoritism, and try to achieve indirectly what can best be done directly. Both Downunder and in North America, the industry needs to address decreasing foal numbers and breeder's losses by assisting faster recoupment of money spent on yearlings and, Downunder, on classification, handicapping, and purse changes designed to provide better racing/purse options for top calibre and older racehorses. The reasons to export need to be overcome so that horses remain in the system! In both hemispheres, following the thoroughbred formula of top heavy purses for young non winners of 1,2, and 3 races might be a really great idea. It should help yearling buyers, thereby helping Breeders... In both hemispheres there is a perception expressed by so many that the individuals empowered to lead harness racing's way forward are incapable of getting the job done, that those on top just don't listen to the people who really know the everyday problems - and often the solutions - the average "joe" who lives the racing experience in some way every day. The better, the gambler, the customer, the groom and driver and trainer, the racetrack employee, the guy on the track or USTA phone....these are the people from whom the answers, at least indirectly, will come. We had all better listen to them! I'll be here for another ten days in Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland....watching and listening! I'll let you know what I see and hear! Cheers! As they say here : "good day on ya"! Gordon Banks

Harness racing driver Mitchell Reese has suffered fractures to his lower back following a horror fall involving three horses at Penrith on Thursday night.  The incident occurred on the turn for home when Reese's drive Hes My Mate, who had settled behind the leader, stumbled, causing a pile-up behind him.  Reese was sent flying after getting hit in the back by Charlie James who then fell with driver Brooke Wilkins. Mortenson, who was trailing the field, then went over the top of Hes My Mate, throwing Stephanie Lippiatt from the sulky.  Race caller Fred Hastings said Reese was taken to Westmead Hospital with CT Scans revealing he had suffered some fractures to his lower back.    Fred Hastings @HastingsFred   Mitchell Reese transferred to Westmead, undergoing CT Scans and tests for pelvic injuries, in a deal of pain- updates courtesy of the family 1:04 AM - Nov 3, 2017   He said Reese was still in a neck brace as a precautionary to rule out any injuries to the neck and surgery was not required at this stage.  Remarkably both Wilkins and Lippiatt walked away unscathed from the incident and the early reports on the three horses were also positive.  Mortenson sustained a laceration while Hes My Mate and Charlie James appeared to have escaped injury pending further vet checks.    By Nick Hluchaniuk  Reprinted with permission of The Punters.com.au site         Video: Sky Racing

Former Kiwi star Tiger Tara continues to amaze new trainer Kevin Pizzuto. As if blowing away a strong field and smashing the track record in last Thursday night’s Group 2 Penrith Cup wasn’t enough, Pizzuto said the two days which followed the race left him even more in awe. “That was his third run in a week, he did all the work, won easily and smashed the record … but he ate-up and was so bright in the two days after, he made me change my mind,” Pizzuto said. “The plan was always to give him a break after the other night, but he had four days out and I’ve brought him back in.” Tiger Tara will tackle the free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night. “He’s such an amazing horse, easily the best I’ve had, and I’m not afraid of taking anything on the way he’s got his past few starts,” Pizzuto said. “You can say he didn’t race the best the other night, but nothing would’ve beaten him. He smashed the record and, you ask Toddy (McCarthy, driver), he’ll tell you there was still plenty left in the tank.” Pizzuto said the plan was now to race this week, go to the $50,000 Bulli Cup two weeks after that, then have a freshen-up before chasing the Group 1 Len Smith Mile and a Queensland winter campaign. But the big picture is the Perth Inter Dominion at the end of the year. “That’s why I gave him those three runs close together, including the Renshaw Cup, to see how he’d handle it.He loved it. He got better each time. He’s going to love the Inter Dominion (format),” Pizzuto said. “And he’s handled Penrith so well, Gloucester Park won’t be an issue.” Interestingly, Mark Purdon’s best measure of Smolda’s ability to handle Gloucester Park came when he took him to the Renshaw Cup at Penrith in 2015. And Tiger Tara’s almost unthinkable 1min55.2sec mile rate around the tight and slow Penrith track for 2525m took a staggering 1.5sec off the track record which Smolda set. For Pizzuto, the excitement around Tiger Tiger runs even deeper because the pacer is a family affair. “I own him with my daughter, Courtney,” he said. “Another owner was going to take a share, but pulled-out on me, so we bought him together. “It’s great what he’s doing on the track and we bought him a stallion prospect as well. He’s by Bettors Delight, has a fantastic record and will be affordable compared to his Dad when we stand him when the time is right.”   Adam Hamilton

It is the battle of the defending harness racing champions in Thursday night’s Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The 10-horse field will not only be vying for success in the time-honoured feature but also points in the Carnival Of Cups Bonus. Currently Spare Me Days, the Carnival Of Cups Bonus defending champion, is leading the point scorer. If the Renshaw Cup defending champion Yayas Hot Spot reclaims his title in this Thursday night’s edition, the gelding could edge closer to the top of the Carnival Of Cup Bonus tally. However, as long as Spare Me Days goes around in this feature race he will obtain a point and would still be one point ahead of Yayas Hot Spot even if the latter won. Points are awarded based on a horse’s place in a race 1st = 12, 2nd = 11, 3rd = 10 and so on to last place. There are an additional four points for the Owners Bonus when owners check in at a race meeting, however, these points are concealed until the final meeting. Horses must compete in at least four of the eight ‘selected’ feature races to be eligible for the $15,000 bonus ($10,000 to the owner and $5,000 to the trainer) and owners must sign in at two meetings to be eligible for the $5,000 Owners Bonus. There are only four races remaining: Renshaw Cup @ Penrith on 13 April Sydney Cup @ Bankstown on 21 April Bulli Cup @ Menangle on 29 April Ross Gigg Mile @ Newcastle on 6 May   The current 2016/17 Carnival of Cups Bonus Point Score:                HORSE STARTS POINTS SPARE ME DAYS 4 35 YAYAS HOT SPOT NZ 2 23 CLANCYS FOBWATCH 2 19 SALOON PASSAGE NZ 2 17 CHANTREY NZ 2 16 MY JELLIGNITE NZ 2 15 TIJUANA BROMAC NZ 2 13 TULLOW NZ 2 12 AZTEC BROMAC NZ 1 12 BRALLOS PASS 1 11 BLAZIN N CULLEN NZ 1 11   AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Fields for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017 Form guide for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017

Penrith Paceway’s autumn features got underway with the PFD Cup last week and this Thursday night the time-honoured Renshaw Cup has attracted a strong harness racing line-up. It is the second year the Schweppes Renshaw Cup will be run as part of the TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups and the Group 2 has attracted a strong field. Last week’s PFD Cup winner Tiger Tara is backing up again for this week’s $50,000 feature and is the favourite having won his last three starts, including two races last week. Defending champion Yayas Hot Spot is back to attempt to keep his title as well as 2014 Renshaw Cup winner Blazin N Cullen. Others that have added their name to the Renshaw Cup honour roll include Smolda, Michael Frost and Washakie to name a few. Schweppes Renshaw Cup night caters for everybody and there is even a chance to win a Toyota Yaris as well as many raffles and lucky racebook prizes that will be carried out over the night. Entertainment is a priority for Penrith Paceway and the children will have fun when the Easter Bunny arrives.  There will also be live music to kick-start the Easter weekend, Fashions on the Field and fashion stalls. This is supported by our high standard of good food and beverages and a must for the night is a visit to the 140cafe and 3P’s Pizza and Coffee Lounge that has already received plaudits of applause from all quarters.     RENSHAW CUP WINNERS @ PENRITH PACEWAY             YEAR STAKES HORSE DRIVER DISTANCE RATE 2016 50,000 YAYAS HOT SPOT NZ LAUREN PANELLA 2525M 1.58.1 2015 50,000 SMOLDA MARK PURDON 2525M 1.56.7 2014 50,000 BLAZIN N CULLEN NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 1.57.8 2013 50,000 WASHAKIE NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 1.59.1 2012 50,000 TERRORWAY NZ JOHN McCARTHY 2525M 2.00.1 2011 50,000 ROHAN HOME GAVIN FITZPATRICK 2525M 1.58.8 2010 50,000 WESTERN CAM NATALIE RASSMUSSEN 2525M 1.59.6 2009 50,000 JOHNNY EL GRINGO ANTHONY BUCCA 2525M 2.02.2 2008 50,000 BOLD CRUISER NZ DARYL DOUGLAS 2525M 2.01.8 2007 50,000 BLUE GUM FOREST EMMA TURNBULL 2525M 2.03.5 2006 50,000 FIERCE ALLEGIANCE STEVE TURNBULL 2525M 2.01.5 2005 50,000 THE SCORPION KING NORM ABOUD 2525M 2.04.1 2004 30,000 OUR FIRST LAD NZ DENNIS WILSON 2525M 2.02.4 2003 30,000 GIFTED ANGEL NZ DAVID BAXTER 2525M 2.04.7 2002 25,000 JUST SCOOTIN AD TURNBULL 2525M 2.03.2 2001 25,000 FRANCO CONQUEST NZ PETER TRITTON 2525M 2.00.0 2000 27,500 STEP OUTSIDE GRAHAM WATTS 2525M 2.03.5 1999 25,000 ZYUGANOV LEIS WAYNE INNES 2450M 2.03.0 1998 25,000 ALFABEAT DAVID BAXTER 2450M 2.04.4 1997 25,000 LATE BID NZ ROB BYRNES 2450M 2.03.8 1996 25,000 LATE BID NZ ROB BYRNES 2450M 2.02.1 1995 25,000 TYLER JAY TERRY ROBINSON 2450M 2.02.8                 MOBILE START                   1994 25,000 BIG WAL SM MAGUIRE 2420M 2.00.9 1993 25,000 COCO'S DREAM NZ THERESE M GLEESON 2420M 2.02.5 1992 25,000 CARTER RAINBOW DW WILSON 2420M 2.02.1 1991 22,000 OUR AYNSLEY DJ BINSKIN 2420M 2.01.2 1990 20,000 BONZATROSS DA ROYLE 2420M 2.03.8 1989 15,000 LOVE TO SPARE CJ GLEESON 2420M 2.02.3 1988 15,000 LOTS OF KINGS CJ GLEESON 2420M 2.03.4 1987 15,000 BEN'S IMAGE VW FROST 2420M 2.03.1                 STANDING START                   1986 15,000 HURRICANE FURY CJ GLEESON 2350M 1.17.5 1985 15,000 POWDER AND SHOT RW ADAMS 2450M 1.18.3 1984 15,000 DALMEGO J JANDZIO 2450M 1.18.4 1983 12,000 BUNDANOON BP HANCOCK 2450M 1.19.7 1982 12,000 OUT FOR GLORY BP HANCOCK 2420M 1.17.2 1981 10,000 MICHAEL FROST C CAFFYN 2450M 1.19.7 1980 8,500 GRAND THOR VW FROST 2450M 1.17.6 1979 7,500 ABLE AY J BINSKIN 2450M 1.18.5 1978 5,500 CHALLENGE PROOF VW FROST 2450M 1.17.7 1977 5,500 CHALLENGE PROOF W McCLELLAND 2450M 1.21.7 1976 2,400 KARAMEA MINNA DJ HEATH 2450M 1.19.0 1975 2,300 SHY CASTLE K NEWMAN 2450M 1.19.2 1974 3,000 ARMBRO JODIE K NEWMAN 2450M 1.19.3 1973 3,000 ROYAL TOPAZ S BOND 12f 40yds 2.09.6 1971 (Dec) 1,900 PRINCESS LIGHT A YOUNG 12f 40yds 2.08.0 1971 1,500 KIWI LAD VW FROST 12f 40yds 2.07.2 1970 1,500 DAWN PEAK C CASTLES 12f 40yds 2.06.6 1969 1,500 KIWI PETERSON K NEWMAN 12f 40yds 2.08.2 Fields for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017 Form guide for Penrith, Thursday 13 April 2017 PENRITH PACEWAY

At just the age of 23 harness racing reinsman Todd McCarthy is undoubtedly having his best season to date. He achieved the feat of driving 500 winners last night at Penrith (August 18) and this milestone was reached when the two-year-old Western Stride broke through for his first victory. This season alone Todd has driven 186 winners, which includes his first Group One winner, and looks set to take out the New South Wales Drivers Premiership. The talented reinsman is also the leading concession driver in the state and is in front in the Metropolitan Drivers Premiership too, just two wins ahead of his older brother Luke. Here are some more Todd McCarthy stats: ·         First started driving in 2010 ·         His first race drive was at Albion Park on March 2, 2010, on Count The Cards – they finished second ·         It took Todd 13 drives to land his first winner ·         His first winner was Count The Cards at the Gold Coast on April 23, 2010 ·         Todd’s first double was at Albion Park on October 26, 2010, with Beef City Beau and Braveheart Stride ·         At the age of 21 Todd drove five winners in one program which was at Newcastle on May 3, 2014. The wins came courtesy of Fellas R Trouble, Howdy        Dazz, Marble Halls, Emerging Art and Bettorbeastar ·         Todd’s drives has collected over $4.6million in prizemoney ·         His first Group One win was with Frith in the 2016 Ladyship Mile ·         The fastest win Todd has had was when Frith rated 1:50.1 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 16, 2016 ·         He has trained 17 winners  - more than half of them were thanks to the pacer Seel N Print ·         Todd also finished second in the 2014 Inter Dominion Grand Final with Seel N Print AMANDA RANDO

Every harness racing driver of a horse wearing the number seven saddlecloth at Penrith this Thursday night will be donning special silks of black with gold sleeves and white stars. And the reason is to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. Popular horseman Danny Bergan lost his short battle with MND in 2007 and this week marks the seventh year of the Danny Bergan Memorial at the Paceway hence why seven is the 'lucky' number. Ironically the last winner the late Danny Bergan trained, Nukemjake, won from barrier seven at Penrith. Danny's son Daniel and his best mate Stuart Jamieson, who also part-owned Nukemjake, have been behind this awareness campaign from the very beginning following one heartfelt promise. "My best mate's father passed away quickly from Motor Neurone Disease and he made a promise to his father that he would help find a cure for MND," Stuart said. "With Daniel's banking background and my hospitality background we put our skills together and created the Danny Bergan Memorial Foundation. "This is the seventh running of the Danny Bergan Memorial at Penrith so we thought we would do something different with the race silks, to draw attention, awareness and raise money. "Danny had an affiliation with Penrith and raced a lot of his horses there hence why we have his race and race night at this track." Through this passionate drive of two best mates, Daniel and Stuart have teamed up with the MonSTar Foundation and contributed in excess of $380,000. And with the Danny Bergan Memorial Trot Night function on Thursday, the pair is donating all of the proceeds towards the cause. "We first started the fundraising to help support Carol, Danny's wife, after his passing," Stuart said. "A couple of years later we held a race in Danny's honour and it has grown momentum from there." Danny lived in the nearby suburb of Riverstone and trained and drove many winners at Penrith including the abovementioned Nukemjake and Gold Dignity. For more information on the Danny Bergan Memorial Foundation click here. Keep an eye out for the black colours with gold sleeves and white stars! AMANDA RANDO

The unbeaten pacer Our Waikiki Beach will be out to extend his winning streak to 19 races at Penrith on Thursday night when he competes in a heat of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge.  Trained by leading New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon, the Australian bred son of Somebeachsomewhere has only started twice across the Tasman with the gelding having won a dozen of his races at Australia’s premier harness racing track, Tabcorp Park Menangle. Luke McCarthy will drive Our Waikiki Beach on Thursday night, it is the fourth time he has had the honour of driving the star.  Purdon has sat behind him on nine occasions, Natalie Rasmussen four times and John McCarthy and Brent Barclay have had one drive each. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races.  As a two year old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the NSW Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown.  This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby.  The gelding has won $665,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere.  Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia.  San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29.  Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20.  With a victory on Thursday night Our Waikiki Beach will join Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19. When asked to describe Our Waikiki Beach, trainer Mark Purdon is quick to look towards the gelding’s future. “He has all the qualities that suggest he is going to take the next step to compete against the very best horses,” Purdon said. “I wouldn’t say he was a standout as a young horse but we always thought he had plenty of ability. While he is a son of Somebeachsomewhere there is a lot of Bettors Delight in him from his mother and he has a very laid back and relaxed attitude.” Purdon expects to be in Sydney to drive Our Waikiki Beach in a semi final of the Breeders Challenge and will also take the reins in the final. “That’s the plan at this stage.  We’ll see how he gets through the Breeders Challenge, but we are planning on taking him to the Breeders Crown later in the season. “I don’t know whether he should be classed as an Australian or New Zealander because he has only had two starts in New Zealand, maybe the Aussies should claim him because he was born and bred there.” We’ll take him Mark!    Greg Hayes

Goulburn trainer Brad Hewitt admits he is unsure which Spare Me Days will turn up to compete in the haarness racing  Renshaw Cup at Penrith on Thursday night.  The four-year-old Ifihadyourluck gelding can look like a ‘world beater’ one week and struggle the next and Hewitt finds it impossible to predict in what mood the gelding will be in. After winning the Young Cup two starts ago defeating Group One winning mare Frith in the process, Spare Me Days performed well below his best at Bathurst at his next run. “I never know what I’m going to get with him, his run at Young was so good and he felt so strong but then at Bathurst he was plain and I could tell after I made the move to the chair that he was having one of his off nights,” Hewitt said. “What makes it harder to predict is that he is a dreadful track worker so you never get a clear indication whether he is going well or not because his work is poor.” Hewitt believes the Shane Tritton trained Yayas Hot Spot has the pace to cross from out wide on the front row in the Renshaw Cup which would put Spare Me Days behind the leader.  However Hewitt does not want to get shuffled back any further. “Yayas Hot Spot has got the speed to cross us all and if Spare Me Days can race on the back of the leader I think he has a great winning chance but they have been driving Yayas Hot Spot with a sit so if he crossed and then handed up to something else we’ll find it tough. “From three back on the pegs he would need a lot of luck.  He handles the small tracks really well as he proved at Young, the half mile track is no concern at all.” Thursday’s trip to Penrith will be a rare one for Hewitt especially during the colder months as he is normally training with his rugby league team the Goulburn Bulldogs. “Thursday night is normally training but I was lucky this week because the coach had a coaching clinic to go to so he transferred training to Friday night. “I normally start the year in first grade but I miss a few training session and a couple of games because of the horses and I end up getting dropped back to reserves.  I play in the centres, we’ve had one game this year and had a win so it has been a good start.” Spare Me Days will need to compete in one of the two remaining Carnival Of Cups feature races to be eligible for the $20,000 bonus that is up for grabs.  Horses must compete in four of the six events to qualify for the Carnival Of Cups bonus and after racing in the Goulburn and Young Cups he has already earned vital points.  After Thursday night’s Renshaw Cup, the final two legs will be conducted at Bankstown and Menangle. Greg Hayes

The connections of Warana Court are realistic, they know their horse is no equine star. The son of Lombo Mandingo, known in the stable as Marty Moo or Moo for short, has won six races in his 44 start career and has banked just over $24,000. The gelding has become a favourite of harness racing junior driver Katie McGill and has provided her with two of the five winners in her career. The pair has become great mates and their bond is as strong as could be so when Warana Court was 'out of sorts' last Thursday night at Penrith, McGill knew something was wrong. Warana Court was set to compete in the fifth race but in the lead up to the fourth event, McGill sensed not all was right with the five year old. "When he gets to the races he is normally half asleep but he just wasn't himself, he was very agitated and was kicking out," McGill said. "The HRNSW vet came to take blood prerace and a couple of minutes after he had left I told Mum and Dad that the horse wasn't happy so they told me to go and get the vet back to have a look at him. The vet came and checked his temperature and heart rate but everything was normal." After a discussion between the family and the vet, a decision was made to scratch the horse and he was administered with medication to help him relax. "The medication was meant to last for a few hours but within 40 minutes he was agitated again, we started walking him and then drenched him with some paraffin oil. The vets told us we needed to get him to the nearest vet practice if we wanted to save him so we headed off to the Agnes Banks clinic." On arrival at Agnes Banks Warana Court was scanned and a twisted bowel was diagnosed by Dr Derek Major. "Derek told us it was in a bad spot and even if he was to operate there could be other complications." Katie's mother Jill Cubitt could see the horse was in a bad way but so was her daughter and Dr Major spoke to her about the options for Warana Court. "I didn't want to see the horse in pain but I didn't think the horse deserved for us to give up on him either," Cubitt said. "Dr Major said there was a three hour window before the horse's gut would start to die so if he was going to improve it had to be in that three-hour window. Katie was in the stable with Warana Court's head in her lap so we decided to give him a chance and hope for a miracle. The bowel would need to untwist but the chances were slim" The family took some photos with Warana Court and left the vet with the instruction to put the horse down if he was suffering. The staff promised to make a phone call during the night if there was any improvement but wouldn't wake the family with a call in the early hours of Friday morning if they were forced to put the horse down. Katie and her parents returned home and when their phone failed to ring during the night, the family assumed the horse must have been put out of his misery. A call was made to the Agnes Bank clinic to confirm the worst, however surprisingly the news was good. "Dr Major had stayed with him during the night and he told me he had started to pick up at 2am, exactly three hours after telling us that his gut would start to die within three hours," Cubitt said. "Katie skipped a class at university to go and see him on Friday and the connection between them is very evident. When we arrived, the staff told us they had renamed Moo and they were calling him Jesus because he had comeback from the dead. I'm not very religious but I think we all said a few prayers on Friday night hoping he would improve." "Warana Court had improved so much they put him out in a paddock at the vets and when Katie arrived and called out to him he lifted his head, whinnied and came running over to her. It was very special." McGill was relieved to see Warana Court running around and she confirmed Dr Major let him go home on Friday night. "We brought him home on Friday and he had a pretty easy weekend but it is great to have him home," McGill stated. "He has been so hungry since he has come home, we haven't stopped feeding him since Friday night," Cubitt added. After speaking with Dr Major about Warana Court's short term future, Cubitt revealed the gelding returned to work on Monday and should be back at the races in the near future. "They have told us to take it slowly with him but while he is happy and eating to keep going with him. The only thing we have to check is what the withholding period is for all of the medication he has been given. "Once we know that then he can go back to the races, I think his first start back is going to be a special night for all of us." Greg Hayes

Once again it is that time of the year when the Penrith Harness Racing Club conducts the PJ Hall Memorial and for the fifth year in succession the prestigious event will be sponsored by Lexus of Parramatta who will be the very proud Sponsors of this prestigious event. The name PJ Hall is enshrined into harness racing and the Lexus of Parramatta dealer principle Rod Smith was an ardent follower of PJ's racing exploits. A strong program of racing is guaranteed at Penrith's feature night. Naturally the highlight will be the Lexus of Parramatta PJ Hall Memorial however the meeting will also be bolstered by the Presidents Cup, an event for fast class horses and a full program of supporting races. The field competing in the PJ Hall is comprised of placegetters from the heats run at Bathurst, Newcastle and Penrith ensuring a highly competitive and speedy event. The night also coincides with the long awaited opening of the brand new stabling complex that has been erected by the Penrith Harness Racing Club in conjunction with HRNSW. This project will satisfy the needs of all the participants in the future. It is roomy, well laid out and provides the trainers, drivers and owners with an improved stabling environment. Greg Hayes

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